- Understanding Toxic Ingredients for Dogs
- How do I help a dog who has consumed a toxic substance?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Pets can sometimes accidentally consume something toxic. What might be a regular everyday ingredient for us can be deadly for them. Grapes are one of those harmless foods to humans but can cause internal damage to dogs. If your dog eats a grape you naturally ask yourself, “My dog ate a grape what do I do?” The answer can be very simple. This article will help you understand the necessary things that you need to do if the situation arises.
Understanding Toxic Ingredients for Dogs
There are many household food items that contain toxins for dogs. When a dog consumes these ingredients, they will suffer from conditions like diarrhea, gastrointestinal obstruction or constipation, liver damage or liver failure, and in rare cases, cancer.
When a dog cries after eating, he is trying to communicate with you that something is not right within his body. Those are usually the first signs that you should take note of.
Here are some ingredients that you or family members should avoid feeding to your dog:
If your dog somehow consumes alcohol, it’s important that you keep a close eye on him or her. Even in small doses, alcoholic beverages can do quite a lot of damage to dogs. Like humans, dogs can also become intoxicated but only need a small amount of alcohol for the effects to kick in.
Your dog can start vomiting, be highly disoriented, have diarrhea, have a fever or high temperatures, have no coordination, have muscle spasms, breathing problems, seizures, be in a coma, or can even die.
Immediately bring your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic as soon as you see the symptoms. That way, the vet can start treatment and monitor your pet until he or she gets better.
Pro Tip: Educate your family members of the dangers of alcoholic beverages to dogs. Keep your alcohol stash well away from access to your pets.
Avocado can be a staple fruit in a household. Feeding your dogs avocado can cause your dog to vomit. In some cases, your dog will also have a bad case of diarrhea. Avocados have these bad effects on dogs because of a substance called “persin” which, when consumed, can be poisonous.
Pro Tip: Keep your avocado fruit and avocado plant away from your dogs. The leaves, fruit, and seed also contains persin, which is harmful to your dog’s digestive system.
Chocolate and Caffeine
The universal rule of a pet parent is not to feed chocolate to dogs and cats, no matter how big or small he/she is. Chocolate can be harmful to your dog because it has a chemical called, “theobromine.” Chocolate also contains caffeine, which is just as harmful to dogs. The ingredients theobromine and caffeine are hard for dogs to metabolize.
Theobromine and caffeine can also be found in medicine. They’re typically found in medicines that are heart stimulants and muscle relaxants. Additionally, you can also find caffeine in tea.
In chocolate or caffeine products, it depends on the size of your dog before you see any adverse effects. The smaller your dog, the quicker you’ll see the symptoms of chocolate or caffeine poisoning. It will also depend on the concentration of chocolate that is present in the food item. The darker the chocolate, the more poisonous it will become to your pet.
There are a lot of symptoms that you’ll see in your dog that will show you that he or she is suffering from chocolate or caffeine poisoning.
- Increased thirst
- Excessive panting
- Increased body temperature
- Excessive urination
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heart function
- Muscle tremors
- Heart failure or cardiac arrest
The moment you see or suspect that your dog has consumed chocolate or caffeine, contact your veterinarian. Optionally, you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline if you are a resident of the United States of America.
Pro Tip: Take note of any products with theobromine and caffeine. Read the ingredients list of the products that you purchase and have your dog steer away from them if you find those ingredients.
Grapes and Raisins
When a dog consumes grapes and raisins, it can become fatal. Research has yet to determine what substance causes grape and raisin poisoning to dogs. Thus, it is better to avoid feeding grapes or raisins to your dog altogether.
Grape and raisin poisoning can be fatal to your dog. Symptoms can lead to kidney problems and in very severe cases, kidney failure. Here are the symptoms of grape and raisin poisoning:
- Little to no appetite
- Excessive panting
- Pale gums
- Increased thirst
- Excessive urine or Little to no urination
- Kidney failure
The moment you see your pet eat a grape, contact your veterinarian. They will often tell you to force your dog to throw up. If you are unable to go to your vet because they are closed, there are home remedies which you can make to induce vomiting. Even if you are successful in making your dog vomit, you should still go to the veterinarian as soon as possible for the proper treatment. Your vet will also conduct tests to see if traces of the grape or raisin is out of your dog’s system.
Alternatively, you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline for more assistance in dire situations.
Pro Tip: Prevention is always better than cure. Keep your grapes or raisins in the fridge, which is well away from your dog. If your dog likes to snag things off the kitchen table, keep them in your cupboards.
Onions and Garlic
Onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions all belong to the same family. They contain a toxic substance called “N-propyl disulfide.” This substance breaks down a dog’s red blood cells. It will cause anemia in your pet.
The onion plant in general (including its flesh, roots, leaves, and juice) is toxic to dogs. You can find onions in a lot of food, so make sure that there isn’t any onion in your pet’s food.
Symptoms of onion and garlic poisoning can come in the form of vomiting, lethargy, little to no appetite, pale gums, excessive panting, collapsing, reddish urine, and an elevated heart rate. As soon as you see your dog with these symptoms, bring him or her to the closest veterinarian for proper treatment.
Pro tip: Check the ingredients list on the back of any food product so you can avoid onion and garlic poisoning in your dogs.
Xylitol or Artificial Sweetener
Xylitol, otherwise known as an Artificial Sweetener, is found in many household food items. You can find them in biscuits, candy, sweets, soda (both regular and diet soda), toothpaste, gum, some peanut butter products, and chocolate.
Make sure that whatever you’re feeding to your dog does not have xylitol in it. It will cause an array of problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. In some very bad cases, your dog may have seizures and his liver can fail, which is caused by hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is the condition where the blood sugar drops to a dangerously low level.
Pro tip: If it’s something you bought from the grocery store that tastes sweet and comes in a plastic wrapper, check the ingredients before you offer it to your dog.
How do I help a dog who has consumed a toxic substance?
First of and foremost, don’t panic! There is always time for you to help your dog. However, you shouldn’t delay any treatment so that you can avoid the worst outcome.
This is why you should always have your veterinarian’s number in your contacts list, along with the Pet Poison Helpline.
In the unfortunate case that the veterinary clinic is closed, here’s what you can do:
There are many ways for you to induce vomiting in a dog using household ingredients. Keep in mind that before you induce vomiting, you should contact your veterinarian to ask for the go signal and the proper dosage. If your veterinarian is unreachable, you can attempt to induce vomiting once or twice.
Let me share with you some methods.
Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Get a solution of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide. Do not use a higher concentration as it may worsen your dog’s condition. The proper dosage is one teaspoon per 5 lbs of your dog’s body weight. Put your dog on a weighing scale and see how much he weighs.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Only induce vomiting within two hours that your dog has ingested the toxic substance. You can contact your veterinarian for the right dosage for your dog.
If your dog weighs more than 45 lbs, only administer the solution using a feeding syringe with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons. In the case you don’t have a feeding syringe, a turkey baster will do.
Insert the feeding syringe into his lips, and squirt the substance behind the very back of his teeth or tongue.
Within 15 minutes of the first dosage, you can administer a second dose if he still has not vomited. If possible, collect your dog’s vomit. The veterinarian will analyze your dog’s vomit to see what treatment he can administer for your pet. Clean it up so that your dog doesn’t eat his vomit again.
Other Home Methods
First, you can mix one tablespoon of baking soda into a half cup of water. Administer it using a feeding syringe or a turkey baster.
Second, you can drop one teaspoon of mustard and mix it very well into a cup of water. You may also administer this solution using a feeding syringe or a turkey baster.
However, you should still contact and consult your veterinarian before doing any home methods for inducing vomit.
Contact Pet Poison Helpline
A Pet Poison Helpline is a service that you can call in case your pet has consumed something toxic. In each country or region, there is usually a designated Pet Poison Helpline. Behind the phones are veterinarians, animal nutritionists, and pet poison specialists. The Pet Poison Helpline is usually open for 24 hours per day at 7 days per week. Contacting this helpline and asking for an immediate phone consultation will cost you cash. However, an immediate phone consultation may prevent you from going to the veterinarian clinic.
Pet Poison Helpline for the United States of America
For American citizens, you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline. They have a $65 incident fee that they charge you, but all follow-up consultations will be included in the first charge. They can handle poisoning of all kinds of pets like ferrets, short-haired or long-haired cats, birds, small to large breed dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other rodents.
The veterinarians will ask you questions about the exposure or what your dog has ingested. Then, they will determine if your pet can be treated and monitored at home or if you should consult your veterinarian. In the case that you need to visit your veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline will coordinate with the vet to produce the best treatment plan for your pet.
They are available 24/7.
There are many testimonials that speak of the success of the Pet Poison Helpline. The team at Pet Poison Helpline is known to be very professional and quick-acting whenever a caller needs help. They have saved thousands of pets and have saved pet parents from spending hundreds of dollars in veterinary fees.
Animal Poison Line for the United Kingdom
For citizens in the United Kingdom, you can contact the Animal Poison Line. There is a £35 charge if you call from 8am to 8pm on Mondays to Fridays. If you call outside that time, you will be charged £45 instead. They are run by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service or the VPIS.
The Animal Poison Line has helped treat dogs and other pets who have been exposed to a lot of toxic materials. These can be toxic materials like human drugs, household ingredients, grocery products, plants, agricultural chemicals, venomous snake bites, allergic reactions, and stings from pests.
Before you call, you must have the following details ready for a speedy treatment plan.
- Your pet’s name, age, breed, and weight
- What has your pet ingested? What has he been exposed to? Provide the food ingredient or the product brand and name.
- How did your pet absorb the potential toxic material? Did they eat it, inhale it, or has their skin been exposed to it?
- How long was your pet exposed to the toxic material? Give an estimated time in minutes or hours.
- How much of the toxic material were they exposed to or ingested? Give an estimated measure, like how many spoons.
- Is this the first time that this happened? Provide the date or year that it has happened before, if applicable.
There are many testimonials of successful treatments from the Animal Poison Line. They have helped 7 out of 10 pet parents and pets avoid a trip to the veterinary clinic. Do note that they are run by veterinary poisons specialists and don’t help with other veterinary concerns. If your concern is something other than toxic substance poisoning, they will not be able to help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other questions that you may have about grapes other than, “My dog ate a grape, what do I do?”
Q: Can a single grape kill a dog?
A: It depends on the size of your dog. Larger breeds bigger than 60 lbs typically don’t display any side effects when they consume one grape. However, smaller breeds of around 20 lbs or less might have bad side effects by just eating one grape. Even if you have a large breed dog, I suggest that you still should not let your pet ingest grapes.
Q: How many dogs have died from eating grapes?
A: According to a 1999 study of the Animal Poison Control Center, they tested 43 dogs to ingest raisins and grapes. Only 23 have survived and recovered. 15 have received euthanasia, and 5 died.
Q: Do all dogs react badly to grapes?
A: Since there is still no definitive research as to what substance in grapes and raisins cause a bad reaction, there is no telling if all dog breeds react badly to grapes. Thus, it’s better for your pet to avoid grapes altogether just to be safe.
It’s good that you’re taking the initiative to research what’s good and bad for your dog. As a responsible pet parent, it’s your job to educate yourself and the people around you on the dangers and adverse effects of your dog consuming toxic substances like grapes. Now that you are aware of the different toxic substances that are harmful to your dog, I hope that you are taking precautionary measures for the safety of your dog.
What toxic substance did you find surprising on this list? Does your dog have experience in ingesting a toxic substance and did he recover? Share with us your story below!